Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~ The Dalai Lama

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Post Frolic recovery & Spring is finally here...

Some reasons to smile this morning...

Baby Rhubarb has appeared in my garden...

Our family pet/creature Java enjoying newly green grass...

Our backyard pear tree coming into bloom....

I had sweet dreams about yarn, fluff, high whirl drop spindle's, and other good wooly items...and as of this morning we are 364 days to next years Frolic.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

No longer a Frolic Virgin...

Waking up at 7a.m. on a Saturday morning is never my version of fun, enjoyable in the slightest or amusing in any way, but I have to tell you that after looking forward to the Downtown Knit Collective's Knitters Frolic for more than a year now, I had a very hard time sleeping last night and was really looking forward to touching, feeling, smelling and being around all things woolly.

As I was a Frolic virgin this year, I had planned my day out with time for classes and time for shopping, time for knitting and finally time for that order.

I have been particularly looking forward to the workshop with Lorriane Smith (editor of Spinner's Quarterly) on spinning.

The class did not disappoint me in the least. Lorraine's method for teaching was relaxed, informative and most importantly enjoyable.

This was my sad and extremely pitiful attempt at two ply made out of chocolate brown Shetland roving from Ontario.

I played around with all of the roving stash that Lorraine provided as part of the class materials and was really surprised at how differently everything spun. I have determined that I do not like to spin cotton - I was just not made with enough patience for that...and highly doubt that any level of meditation will get me there.

I really couldn't wait to get home and play with the fabulous roving I purchased from Black Lamb.

This is me experimenting with the beautiful hand carded mix plus some fabulous alpaca I got at Creativfesitval last weekend from Helga at Green Acres Farms.

After running in Shelley & Richard and then Janet after my spinning class I was feeling energized and ready to shop. After a good twice through, I felt completely overwhelmed and had no clue where to start or what I wanted to buy. In fact, I was too busy focusing on something else that Shelley and Janet had told me......

It seems that the Yarn Harlot was at the Frolic...and me having a small case of the starry eyes for her in an entirely yarny kind of way wanted to get a picture with her. Janet of course found this quite funny and was looking forward to laughing her ass/relentlessly teasing until the end of time. So after a little while she crossed my path (honestly I didn't hunt her down), there she was....

...and yes that's me looking like I am in shock and stunned and Stephanie looking fabulous!!!....***Sigh****

So maybe not my best look, but they can't always be perfect and as mentioned above I was in shock. I have never met Stephanie prior to today nor have I ever heard her speak. She is a very petite woman, with a very earthy voice and personality. She was very gracious to me for allowing to snap this picture - although she was in a rush to meet up with a friend....thank you Stephanie - you made my Frolic! :)

In addition to some spinning supplies I also bought eight of the most beautiful blush coloured baby alpaca/silk blend wool skeins (Blue Sky Alpacas) make a fabulous summer ribbon shell.

I expected my day to end with a workshop on Crocheting with Cachet - but found the workshop way too challenging as the instructor was moving about 10,000 miles per minute. You absolutely needed to be an advanced crocheter to keep up. A bit disappointing - given the $40 workshop fee, but what can you do except know better for next year.

Overall, I think the day was smashing and I really enjoyed my experience there and would absolutely recommend it to any knitters in Ontario - well worth the drive to Toronto.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A day of sadness and gratitude....

Where does one begin to articulate one's thoughts around a tragedy such as that which occurred at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007. As a mother, step-mother, aunt and cousin to children who attend universities across Canada, I am saddened beyond belief for all of the victims, families, friends, colleagues, and community of Virginia Tech. I send my heartfelt wishes for all of their recovery from such an atrocity and pray for them. I feel grateful that my family and friends were/are safe.

I am angry at the easy accessibility of handguns around the world and this event only strengthens my convictions that gun-laws need to be reinforced for the safety of all humanity. I also feel tremendously sad for the family and friends of Cho Seung-hui,as I am sure that no amount of time or space will allow them to have understanding and peace for the actions of their child.

Watching the events as a shocked spectator, I was so moved by the actions of Liviu Librescu - protecting his students to the end. I was proud to be a Jew in that moment. After surviving atrocities of the Shoah that none of us can truly imagine, Mr. Librescu truly lived a life dedicated to the service of others - his family, friends, students and peers should feel that proud as well.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Pondering the ' We don't leave our sons behind campaign'...

So yesterday, as I was sitting in synagogue as part of the seventh day of Pesach, I was thinking about the 'We don't leave our sons behind campaign' that the United Jewish Appeal has put out this Spring.

I have to admit that since doing my conversion classes (I was once Roman Catholic) that I have a heightened awareness of current events and world issues especially as it pertains to Israel and the middle east. Seeing these signs and billboards up the past month have made me feel a tremendous sense of compassion for people living within Israel and the surrounding areas as well as for those families who have had a child lost/taken or not returned during the war. As a parent to five children, including three who are Jewish by birth - being confronted with the reality that perhaps these could be my step-sons, or sons of other Jewish mothers I know causes me to feel a combination of emotions including anger, resentment and sadness.

Upon reflection, I know that any mother would feel this way if their child's life was sacrificed during a war, including those of the Palestinian people, Iranian people or any people for that matter. I have been thinking that I was proud that Israel has a proactive approach to not leaving their soldiers behind, however my world was shook yesterday as my Rabbi discussed in his congregant speech about how the Israeli army will sacrifice healthy/active soldiers to retrieve the bodies of the slain/killed/captured soldiers and that this in fact is a very controversial issue within not only Israel, but for every Jew regardless of where they live.

This shook me because I had felt proud of Israel. If I was a mother to one of these children - I would want them home, to be buried in peace and have closure. I hadn't really thought about sending someonelse's child in a high-risk situation to retrieve my child. That's something else - and I have no clue how you work through the moral/ethical dilemma surrounding that issue.

In the end, I feel...I don't know how I feel...except maybe torn.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Mother Nature is S-E-R-I-O-U-S-L-Y confused....or...

has an awesome sense of humour. It snowed this morning. I was shocked as I settled into a volunteer-a-holic-catch-up-a-thon, which largely means dedicating some serious time to my volunteer commitments, I was in awe at how mother nature never seems to surprise me. It sure was pretty that flash snowstorm although I hadn't realized MN's full-mental breakdown until I went outside - damn it got cold.

Thank goodness my day only involves, completing expense reports, identifying faculty for a fab new program, creating lesson work plan's for the same program, creating a board agenda etc...none of that involved going out. That was until my almost sixteen (next Sunday boo-hoo!) asked to get dropped off at a friends house. Recently said teenager has been exhibiting some seriously hormonal behaviour which has me her hormonally challenged mother worrying a great deal more than normal. I have been spending a lot of time since January coming to terms with the fact that she is not a child anymore, that she is growing up, that she needs some space and that I need to step back a little and give her some freedom to move about, make mistakes and generally experience life.

I always thought I would be a cool, laid back mom, but it seems that I have turned into a mother like many generations of mothers before me...overprotective, over concerned, over involved and under needed. Its a sad day for all mothers when they start to come to terms with what they feel is the end of their role as the director in their child's life-play. I now am stuck like many others in that awkward state of 'I don't want to talk to you, I'm fine, nothing's going on' state of being where our daughters turn against us and no longer see us as an ally, a friend, a confidante, someone whose widsom can save them from a great deal of pain. It sucks! But I shall endure.

On a slightly sunnier note, I found two great new blogs today with some really really beautiful knitting on it...the kind of stuff that makes you smile uncontrollably and desperately wish you could jump right through your computer monitor to touch their beautiful knitting. It is honestly that beautiful. The second blog has the most incredible vegetable dyed eggs I've ever seen - just lovely and springy.

My day overall was a quiet one. I am still in Pesach/Passover recovery mode. The last two weeks have been a major blur for me with balancing client travelling with trying to get our home ready for Pesach. I got home Friday, March 30 at 10 pm from a couple of days in sunny and extremely pretty North Bay to land myself in the midst of Passover meltdown as my house was still yet to be finished getting Kashered for Pesach. This is a laborious process which always throws me for a loop and involves removing chametz from your house as well as changing over all of your meat and dairy dishes/cutlery/pots/pans/etc and cleaning every single spot in your home/car etc...that might have chametz in/on/near it. Anyways I got through the Kashering, got down to cooking for about 40 people and preparing myself to be charming and entertain all of those people over two days. When I woke up on the second seder day, this past Tuesday, Mother Nature had started to get in a mood and I knew this because I had a splitting headache. Given that we had 9 people coming for dinner, I had no choice to get up, finish cooking, prep the dinner table and be ready for a fun-filled night. Overall, it was a very nice evening, but by the time I had gone to bed a tornado couldn't have awoken me and Wednesday was another day filled with migraine hell. I am not sure what has gotten MN is a tizzy, but man Thursday was a very long day and I just couldn't look more forward to a second long weekend. And then as mentioned above - snow today.

The good news - is that is was a perfect day to stay inside, to get a lot accomplished. And that I did. Overall not really such a bad day after all. My reward for a very productive day - knitting time tonight. :) I am still working on my cherry tree hill socks and I'm using the Yarn Harlot's never-fail sock pattern int the hopes that I will actually be able to finish a pair fo socks. I will say this - its been slow going on 2.25 dpn' they're small.